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The Tech Backlash We Really Need - The New Atlantis
The tech backlash, emerging as it has within this centuries-old trajectory, will not achieve the perspective necessary to offer a substantive evaluation of our technological disorders. The critique emanates from within the system, assumes the overall beneficence of the system, and serves only to maximize the system’s power and efficiency by working out its bugs. Meanwhile, the big tech companies can rest ever more assured of their ability to withstand an occasional public battering and emerge unscathed so long as the bribe remains sufficiently enticing. So far, the tech backlash seems likely not to weaken the tech industry but to strengthen it, enhancing the power of the present techno-social configuration.

This is not, however, a case for either inaction or despair. It is, rather, a plea to make the most of the present moment when the curtain has been pulled back ever so slightly on the industry that does so much to shape our world. A backlash will not be enough; by definition it is sudden and fleeting and its course is determined by the forces against which it reacts. What is needed is a more sustained and clear-eyed reconsideration of our situation and a renewed capacity to imagine alternative configurations of the technological order.
technology  SiliconValley  Facebook  ZuckerbergMark  personalData  misuse  ethics  socialMedia  advertising  politics  discourse  HarrisTristan  design 
21 days ago by petej
There comes a point @BBCNewsnight where attempting to provide balance strays into attempting to facilitate deception. Chris Wylie on Newsnight emphasising that charges against those who have broken our electoral laws aren't ALLEGATIONS they're FACTS...wel
There comes a point @BBCNewsnight where attempting to provide balance strays into attempting to facilitate deception. Chris Wylie on Newsnight emphasising that charges against those who have broken our electoral laws aren't ALLEGATIONS they're FACTS...well done @chrisinsilico
VoteLeave  Brexit  referendum  advertising  campaigning  UK  politics  ElectoralCommission  WylieChristopher  BBC  Newsnight  journalism 
7 weeks ago by petej
After the Facebook scandal it’s time to base the digital economy on public v private ownership of data | Technology | The Guardian
We face three political options. We can continue with the current model, with Facebook, Alphabet, Amazon and others taking over more and more functions of the state. With time, perhaps, we won’t need to worry that their technologies are used to influence elections because most of our lives will depend on what happens in their boardrooms – not on what happens in our parliaments.

Alternatively, we can opt for the kind of pseudo-antiglobalism endorsed by Bannon, reclaiming some autonomy from the tech giants by over-empowering the financial sector (which Bannon, of course, also wants to tame with cryptocurrencies; we’ll see who will tame whom, but so far banks seem to have survived – and even swallowed – their challengers).

Finally, we can use the recent data controversies to articulate a truly decentralised, emancipatory politics, whereby the institutions of the state (from the national to the municipal level) will be deployed to recognise, create, and foster the creation of social rights to data. These institutions will organise various data sets into pools with differentiated access conditions. They will also ensure that those with good ideas that have little commercial viability but promise major social impact would receive venture funding and realise those ideas on top of those data pools.

Rethinking many of the existing institutions in which citizens seem to have lost trust along such lines would go a long way towards addressing the profound sense of alienation from public and political life felt across the globe. It won’t be easy but it can still be done. This, however, might not be the case 10 or even five years from now, as the long-term political and economic costs of data extractivism come to the surface. The data wells inside ourselves, like all those other drilling sites, won’t last for ever either.
Facebook  socialMedia  personalData  surveillanceCapitalism  businessModels  targeting  profiling  advertising  subscription  ownership  dataProtection  dctagged  dc:creator=MorozovEvgeny  dataMining 
april 2018 by petej
Big business is hijacking our radical past. We must stop it | Gary Younge | Opinion | The Guardian
The suffragettes were reviled by the establishment. And for good reason. They smashed windows and started fires. They preferred jail to second-class citizenship. They went on hunger strikes. Some were communists. They did not just break the law – some flouted it ostentatiously. “To say I enjoyed making fires sounds rather awful,” said Lilian Lenton. “But it was really lovely to find that you’d been successful; that the thing really had burned down and you hadn’t got caught.”
radicalism  cooption  business  advertising  KingMartinLuther  suffragettes  ParksRosa  history  dctagged  dc:creator=YoungeGary 
february 2018 by petej
There’s No Such Thing as a Free Watch - Topic
Meanwhile, even if the brand is a fiction, the object is not. Given the utter impossibility of uncovering its true origin, the watch itself – its cheap plastic face, lack of markings, and the confounding texture of its band (which one visitor to the Bureau speculated was not even metal, but metal-plated plastic) – acquires a new aura, a new a sense of mystery. It is a physical witness. Amidst the shifting winds of Alibaba sites, dropshipping networks, Shopify templates, Instagram accounts and someone somewhere concocting the details of “Our Story,” a watch was formed, like a sudden precipitate in an unstable cloud. And almost immediately after being produced, it is reviled, doomed to live out its stainless steel life, less a teller of time than an incarnation of petty deception. In that sense, it may be the best artifact of capitalism one could ask for.
Shopify  watch  Instagram  facebook  retail  Alibaba  AliExpress  China  dropshipping  advertising  marketing  brands  capitalism 
january 2018 by petej
A mission for journalism in a time of crisis | News | The Guardian
"But our guiding focus, especially in countries such as Britain, the US and Australia, will be to challenge the economic assumptions of the past three decades, which have extended market values such as competition and self-interest far beyond their natural sphere and seized the public realm. We will explore other principles and avenues through which to organise society for the common good."
Guardian  journalism  history  PeterlooMassacre  TaylorJohnEdward  cotton  slavery  ScottCP  Ireland  colonialism  technology  informationTechnology  Internet  businessModels  advertising  Facebook  algorithms  trust  diversity  Brexit  TrumpDonald  polarisation  inequality  resentment  politics  radicalism  dctagged  dc:creator=VinerKatharine 
november 2017 by petej
John Lanchester reviews ‘The Attention Merchants’ by Tim Wu, ‘Chaos Monkeys’ by Antonio García Martínez and ‘Move Fast and Break Things’ by Jonathan Taplin · LRB 17 August 2017
"What this means is that even more than it is in the advertising business, Facebook is in the surveillance business. Facebook, in fact, is the biggest surveillance-based enterprise in the history of mankind. It knows far, far more about you than the most intrusive government has ever known about its citizens. It’s amazing that people haven’t really understood this about the company. I’ve spent time thinking about Facebook, and the thing I keep coming back to is that its users don’t realise what it is the company does. What Facebook does is watch you, and then use what it knows about you and your behaviour to sell ads. I’m not sure there has ever been a more complete disconnect between what a company says it does – ‘connect’, ‘build communities’ – and the commercial reality. Note that the company’s knowledge about its users isn’t used merely to target ads but to shape the flow of news to them. Since there is so much content posted on the site, the algorithms used to filter and direct that content are the thing that determines what you see: people think their news feed is largely to do with their friends and interests, and it sort of is, with the crucial proviso that it is their friends and interests as mediated by the commercial interests of Facebook. Your eyes are directed towards the place where they are most valuable for Facebook."

"Here in the rich world, the focus is more on monetisation, and it’s in this area that I have to admit something which is probably already apparent. I am scared of Facebook. The company’s ambition, its ruthlessness, and its lack of a moral compass scare me. It goes back to that moment of its creation, Zuckerberg at his keyboard after a few drinks creating a website to compare people’s appearance, not for any real reason other than that he was able to do it. That’s the crucial thing about Facebook, the main thing which isn’t understood about its motivation: it does things because it can. Zuckerberg knows how to do something, and other people don’t, so he does it. Motivation of that type doesn’t work in the Hollywood version of life, so Aaron Sorkin had to give Zuck a motive to do with social aspiration and rejection. But that’s wrong, completely wrong. He isn’t motivated by that kind of garden-variety psychology. He does this because he can, and justifications about ‘connection’ and ‘community’ are ex post facto rationalisations. The drive is simpler and more basic. That’s why the impulse to growth has been so fundamental to the company, which is in many respects more like a virus than it is like a business. Grow and multiply and monetise. Why? There is no why. Because.

Automation and artificial intelligence are going to have a big impact in all kinds of worlds. These technologies are new and real and they are coming soon. Facebook is deeply interested in these trends. We don’t know where this is going, we don’t know what the social costs and consequences will be, we don’t know what will be the next area of life to be hollowed out, the next business model to be destroyed, the next company to go the way of Polaroid or the next business to go the way of journalism or the next set of tools and techniques to become available to the people who used Facebook to manipulate the elections of 2016. We just don’t know what’s next, but we know it’s likely to be consequential, and that a big part will be played by the world’s biggest social network. On the evidence of Facebook’s actions so far, it’s impossible to face this prospect without unease."
Facebook  socialMedia  ZuckerbergMark  attention  business  psychology  ThielPeter  mimeticDesire  GiraudRene  filterBubble  identity  fakeNews  misinformation  Russia  TrumpDonald  advertising  surveillance  surveillanceCapitalism  businessModels  targeting  personalData  monetisation  tracking  Experian  creditCards  algorithms  auctions  Google  monopoly  duopoly  manipulation  emotion  happiness  mentalHealth  dctagged  dc:creator=LanchesterJohn  LRB 
august 2017 by petej
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